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President Obama Addresses U.N. General Assembly; Iran Releases American Prisoners

Aired September 22, 2011 - 04:00:00   ET


GROUP: We are Ms. Brown`s 6th grade Social Studies classes at Prairie Branch Elementary and you are watching CNN Student News.

CARL AZUZ, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks to the students of Prairie Branch for that intro. We`ll tell you a little later on how you can do it, too. I`m Carl Azuz.

First up today we`re heading to New York City. That`s where the United Nations headquarters is located and it`s where more than a hundred world leaders are meeting this week. It`s the U.N. General Assembly. These leaders are talking about major world issues and, starting yesterday, some of them started making speeches to the group.


AZUZ (voice-over): That includes President Obama. He talked about the revolutions in Egypt and Libya. He pushed for change in other Middle Eastern nations like Bahrain and Yemen. He also tried to rally support to fight famine in Africa.

But a lot of President Obama`s speech was about the Israeli- Palestinian peace process. After his speech, the president met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He was scheduled to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as well.

During the speech, President Obama shared his thoughts on the efforts to create a peace agreement.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know that many are frustrated by the lack of progress. I assure you, so am I.

But the question isn`t the goal that we seek. The question is how do we reach that goal. And I am convinced that there is no shortcut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades.


AZUZ: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, is expected to make his speech to the General Assembly today. That will come one day after two Americans were released from a prison in Ahmadinejad`s country.

Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer flew from Iran to the nation of Oman yesterday, where they reunited with family members. The two were released on bail more than two years after they were arrested.

The men were convicted of illegally entering Iran and spying for the United States. The Americans say they accidentally crossed into Iran on a hiking trip. Now that they`re out of Iran and heading home, Fattal and Bauer`s families say it`s the best day of their lives.

We mentioned that the Americans are going to Oman. That country paid their bail. Mohammed Jamjoom looks at why it make sense that Oman would get involved in this situation.


MOHAMMED JAMJOOM, CNN REPORTER: Oman is separated from Iran by the Strait of Hormuz, a key shipping lane for the oil industry. With only 18 miles between both countries, maintaining relations is crucial for this Gulf state.

Iran seems like it would be a natural trading partner for Oman. But due to international sanctions, it can`t offer the help Oman needs in diversifying its economy. For that, Qaboos relies on the U.S., with which Oman has a free trade agreement.

But some think there`s an even simpler reason for Oman`s involvement in the release of the Americans. Analysts wonder if their freedom might ultimately reduce the tension between the U.S. and Iran, and therefore reduce overall tension in the Persian Gulf.

KARIM SADJADPOUR, CARNEGIE INSTITUTE: Perhaps, and I think that from the vantage point of Sultan Qaboos of Oman, apart from the fact that he wanted to provide humanitarian gesture by releasing these young men, helping to release these young men, I think he sees it in his interest to reduce the overall tension in the region by reducing U.S.-Iran tension.

JAMJOOM (voice-over): At a time when regional revolt has shaken so many regimes, some are no longer asking why in the world Oman would want to be involved in this case, but rather why on earth would they not want to be -- Mohammed Jamjoom, CNN, Muscat, Oman.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See if you can ID me. I`m a severe weather event that involves high winds and heavy rain. In the northern hemisphere, I spin counter-clockwise. I`m another name for a hurricane or cyclone.

I`m a typhoon. The name for this type of storm in the western North Pacific Ocean.


AZUZ: Japan, a country that`s still recovering from a deadly earthquake and tsunami that hit back in March, now dealing with the impact of a powerful typhoon as well. Typhoon Roke hit the island nation on Wednesday. It eventually weakened to a tropical storm.

But when it made landfall in the morning, Roke had winds up to 103 miles per hour. At least four people were killed by the typhoon. Around a million people were urged to evacuate ahead of the storm from areas that were getting heavy rain.

Transportation officials said some flights and train service were cancelled as well. This video shows the waves that Roke caused when its winds hit the Japanese coast. There were also concerns about the storm`s possible impact on the Fukushima nuclear plant. That was the site of a nuclear meltdown after the earthquake and tsunami in March.

When Roke hit, officials stopped outdoor construction at the Fukushima plant. They were worried that Roke`s heavy rains could send water that had been contaminated by radiation out of the plant.

You saw some of our viewers kick off today`s program. If you want to follow in Ms. Brown`s students` footsteps, it`s as simple as 1-2-3.

One, go to the "Spotlight" section at Two, click ". Send Us Your iReports"; three, click "Share Your Story," and upload your video. Also, keep an eye out for our email response. Next time, it could be you introducing our show.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today`s Shoutout goes out to Mrs. Norwood and Mr. Vernon`s social studies classes at Margaret Pollard Middle School in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

A grizzly bear is an example of what? You know what to do. Is it a carnivore, herbivore, insectivore or omnivore? You`ve got three seconds, go.

Grizzly bears eat both plants and meat, which makes them omnivores. That`s your answer, and that`s your Shoutout.


AZUZ: Out in the wild, grizzlies have to find those foods on their own. But when they live in zoos, it`s someone else`s responsibility, and they have to prepare proper portions and appropriate meals for a lot more than just one species.

What does it take to be a chef to the animal stars? Karin Caifa dishes out the details.


KARIN CAIFA, CNN REPORTER (voice-over): This looks like your standard restaurant kitchen, similar tools, similar ingredients, but for very different yet no less discerning palates.

MIKE MASLANKA, NATIONAL ZOO CHIEF NUTRITIONIST: Animals that are in the wild have thousands of choices in the food items that they select on a daily basis. When they come into a zoo setting, we have a finite number of choices.

CAIFA (voice-over): Mike Maslanka heads up the Department of Nutrition here at Washington`s National Zoo, including the zoo`s commissary, one of just a few centralized operations in this country that plans, prepares and tracks meals for each zoo resident.

MASLANKA: It allows for there to be closer attention, potentially better regulation on a daily basis of diet amounts that are going into diets. It allows for better health and.

CAIFA (voice-over): Thirteen staffers, two nutritionists, feeding 3,000 animals, about 300 species.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So the vitamin C, bananas, water and some gel to kind of hold it all together.

CAIFA (voice-over): They find a balance between what animals would eat in the wild, what`s available here in the region, and the nutrients each animal needs, all done by the book.

MASLANKA: We have books. So recipe books, just like you would find in your kitchen at home, we have here.

CAIFA (voice-over): That`s so recipes can be easily modified if an animal`s diet needs to change.

MASLANKA: These are a bunch of.

CAIFA (voice-over): Mice and crickets are some of the things your typical chef might not work with. Otherwise, many ingredients are similar to those in your kitchen, fruits, vegetables and a freezer full of meats, albeit a really big one. After all, mouths like these should be kept full and happy -- Karin Caifa, CNN, Washington.


AZUZ (voice-over): I`ve been getting some interesting feedback lately. Well, it`s not about me exactly, but about my double, who`s made out of cardboard and appeared on Friday`s show. See what the buzz is about by clicking in our transcript archive at, and watching our "Before We Go" segment from September 16th.

And if you`re on Facebook, you can see what Cardboard Carl is up to when I`m not at work. The address for that,

AZUZ: We came to the gym for today`s "Before We Go" segment. You know, it takes power to work out like this. What if that power was used to fuel the gym?


JOHN STEVENS, RPM INSTRUCTOR: Since we`ve gotten these generators, about 10-15 more people that I`ve noticed alone coming in to take these classes, just to power the environment.

AZUZ (voice-over): This is an idea that`ll get your wheels a-turnin`. The spin classes at this New York gym let people get fit and go green at the same time. Pedal the bike, generate electricity. Pedal faster or harder, generate more electricity. Working out and helping the environment, sounds like a "wheely" good idea.


AZUZ: And since the technology seems to "work out" just fine, they might just want to consider "pedaling" the program to more gyms. Should be easy to put a pretty positive "spin" on it. All right. See you and Student News "rides" again tomorrow. We`ll see you then.